Apparently this has nothing to do with Donald Trump's attack on the automakers.
Love him or hate him, it's pretty tough to get the name Donald Trump out of our ears, mouths, and lines of sight no matter where we turn. Even the auto industry has been a target of the President-elect, making it so that executives and us journalists have to sift through Trump related news on the daily. The latest bout of information on the subject comes from the Kia Hyundai duo and from General Motors. Beginning with the latter of the two automakers, GM has just announced plans to invest an additional $1 billion in US manufacturing.
This will result in the addition or retention of over 1,500 jobs to work on new vehicles, advanced technology, and components production. GM also mentioned that it would move production of its axles for its full-sized trucks and SUVs from Mexico to Michigan. The move seems timely given that just a few weeks ago, Trump attacked GM for building the Cruze in Mexico and threatened a "big border tax." While GM's announcement may sound like a reaction to Trump's statement, it's doubtful given that these sorts of reinvestments take months and even years to plan. One NBC report even claimed that the decision making process for this move began as far back as 2014.
GM CEO Mary Barra claims that the decision has to do with the American worker's rise in ability. "As the U.S. manufacturing base increases its competitiveness, we are able to further increase our investment, resulting in more jobs for America and better results for our owners," said Barra. According to Bloomberg, Hyundai and Kia have announced a $3.1 billion reinvestment into the US market as a direct result of Trump's election. However, Hyundai Motor President Chung Jin-haeng told reporters in Seoul that the decision comes as a result of expected growth in the US economy under a Trump administration rather than threats made by the President-elect.
"We expect a boost in the US economy and increased demand for various models as President-elect Trump follows through on his promise to create one million jobs in five years," Chung said. "We will actively consider introducing new models that have increasing demand and profits." There's no word on what these models could be, but it's safe to assume that an SUV will be thrown into the mix as well as a few new Genesis models as the Korean automaker duo tries to expand its reach into the US market. In the short term, these announcements bode well for the American workforce, which will see more jobs come into the country. In the long term however, the results could be disastrous.
Countries like Germany, which has already announced displeasure at Trump's comments against BMW by telling the US to make better cars (a low blow but a true one at that), and Japan could engage in a trade war that ends with US consumers paying more for cars, leading to a slump in worldwide auto sales. Merry 2017, car nerds.